German backup Felix Hesse finished high school in 2021 and wasn’t clear about what he wanted to study. It was his parents who suggested he do a course with EcoTraining. Felix went camping with his parents in France. Other than that, he hadn’t done much in the great outdoors. Everything quickly changed when he arrived in South Africa in September of last year to do the 1-year Field Guide course.
Before arriving in remote northern Kruger National Park at Makuleke Camp, first-year student Bella Villaveva had never left the state of Nebraska. “Everything is exciting here,” she says with resounding enthusiasm, “because I had only ever been in the mid-west. I was a little scared as I didn’t know anything about what I was coming to, but it wasn’t for long because the instructors created a base for us, and our common interests united us.
“TK is simpler for foreigners to pronounce,” smiles Pridelands’ cook, Tsakani Masango. She’s happily been with EcoTraining since 2012 and is the permanent cook at Selati camp, but she also travels between camps when needed. “I love the bush, I love nature,” says vibrant TK, “and I love meeting people from so many different places in the world. It is very amazing.”
“When I arrived here in 2010, I wasn’t a bush person,” admits Vicky Maluleke, laughing out loud, “but it didn’t take long to become one, and I still love it here.” Camp Co-ordinator at EcoTraining’s Makuleke Camp in northern Kruger, Vicky, is from the local Makuleke village and has an exciting story.
In February, Liam Mueenuddin got the last spot on the 2022 Trails Guiding course. He was packed and on the ground, ready to start within two weeks. “I am loving the course with all my heart,” he says sincerely. “Wildlife has always been a passion of mine. I have wanted to work in the bush since I was ten years old, actually as long as I can remember.”
EcoTraining Senior Instructor, Craig Beaton, has worked in the bush – one way or another – for over 35 years. Starting as a Trails Guide in the Kruger National Park in 1986, he has come full circle to be an instructor on the current Trails Guiding course in progress at Pridelands.
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